Surrendering

Since the release of his book, Surrender, I’ve been thinking about this concept that Bono talks about in so many different ways. In one tale, presented live on the “The Late Show” (see video below) it really struck a chord within me (pun totally intended).

He talked about how he had (and still has) to approach his wife of 40 years within such terms. He spoke of approaching her like this: “Only if you arrive at her fort defenceless, do you have half a chance in challenging her own, almost unbroachable defences”.

I thought that this was utterly beautiful. It could be applied to so much in life, not just your loved one. For me, it’s about being authentic, about being truly and utterly you, to whomever it is you are trying to connect with. It could be your life partner, your parents, your children, your gods, your ancestors, your community.

When approaching the gods, there is no point in putting up a mask, surrounding yourself with defences. They are gods. They see through all that crap. If you choose to open up your soul to a god, then there is no need for games, for duplicity or falsehoods of any kind. There is only you, and the deity.

It’s much the same with your life partner, family, ancestors, even those of your community. Those who think that they are fooling you with guises and masks are only fooling themselves. People are more perceptive than many think. We know when something or someone is “off”, it’s just that often we choose to ignore that instinct.

Authenticity is about surrender. It’s about being utterly human, being utterly you. It’s acknowledging the good and the bad and everything in between. It’s about working towards being the best person you can be, without masks, without disguises.

This doesn’t mean you have to let go of all boundaries. But if you truly want to connect on a soul-deep level, it is about being totally, utterly you. Letting down your defences also allows those to come to your aid. Keep them up, and they keep everything and everyone out.

The concept of surrender, and of defences, is one that I am going to chew over for quite some time this winter. In the stillness and silence of a winter’s day, in the overarching darkness of a long winter’s night, I am taking this to heart and really experiencing what it is to live in this manner. It will will, I think, open up new ways of living and being that before were only imagined.

This winter, I am surrendering.

Beauty Companies’ Dirty Little Secret

Since 2017, when plastic microbeads came under the spotlight, there was much commotion to get this “ingredient” banned from cosmetic and skincare products. Great, you might think, because they succeeded. But did you know that there are tons of other microplastics out there that are still perfectly legal, and have been since the 1960’s?

Some of the main culprits are:

Dimethicone

Polyethelene

Acrylates Copolymer

Carbomer

These legal microplastics show up in shampoos, facial cleansers, moisturisers and lots of other products. Often they are used as thickening agents. Seems like good old corn starch isn’t really good enough anymore. There are other microplastics out there – look out for anything that has acrylic or acrylate in the word, or a polymer of any kind.

Some beauty brands, like Avon, have been against animal testing for over 30 years. Great, you might say. But I recently found out that around 80% of the products I looked at have microplastics. Many of these products used to have their ingredients listed on the website, so you knew what you were buying before you actually made the purchase. However, I have noticed that since the increased use of microplastics in their products, they have stopped listing ingredients for many of their skincare and beauty products on the website, and all of those with unlisted ingredients contained microplastics. It seems Avon is cottoning on to the fact that we are becoming more aware of what is and isn’t acceptable.

Even companies like The Body Shop are still using microplastics. There is Acrylate Crosspolymer is their Microdermabrasion Vit C facial scrub, for instance. It was also in their Satsuma Body Scrub, which is now no longer available.

There are some good websites that go into detail about the legal microplastics still available for companies to use in their products. There is also a petition to get the EU to ban ALL microplastics. As the companies refuse to take responsibility for their actions, it’s up to the consumer to be informed on every purchase. Which is, I know, a right pain the arse. But if we care enough about what kind of world we are leaving to our descendants, and to all life, then we must take the extra few seconds to read that ingredients list, read up on the latest information, and stay aware.

Some articles to help you get started on microplastics are:

Get to Know Your Microplastics

Get to Know Your Microplastics Part II

For a wonderful company in the UK that is totally plastic-free, has 100% recylable packaging, offers refills through the post and also student and NHS Key Workers discounts, see UpCircle for their great skincare products. This is a personal recommendation, not a paid promotion 🙂

New video now up for Samhain

After a couple weeks of filming on the heath and gathering footage, this new video is now up! A behind-the-scenes video will be available shortly on my Patreon community site 🙂

Interview on The Witching Hour with Patti Negri

Last month I was interviewed by Patti Negri from The Witching Hour YouTube channel. We talked about my upcoming book, the Path of the Hedge Witch, which is out on 8 Oct for the Kindle version, and 8 November for the paperback. Audiobook to come later!

Paperback pushed back…

Release date for the paperback version of The Path of the Hedge Witch has been pushed back due to backlog at the printers. We’re now looking at November 8 release for the paperback. Kindle version still looks to be on track for and October 8 release though!

After the Rain

There was a break in the towering clouds, and I had finished work early. I grabbed my camera and headed out on to the heath. About half and hour in, and the heavens opened again. I sheltered under some old oaks, their guardian presence peaceful and comforting. As the rain passed, a rainbow came out, shining bright across the heath. I came upon the deer, with the deer rut having now started and the stags proudly strutting their stuff. This is magic.